Revealed: How Scientology secretly 'audited' billionaire James Packer, wooed him in Tom Cruise's penthouse and 'even spied on him' before making him their top recruitment targetAnd despite Mr Packer's friendship with the marketable movie star, it's unlikely he knew the effort Scientology was going to recruit him behind the scenes, the book suggests.

Daily Mail, Australia/September 21, 2016

By Daniel Piotrowski

A crack squad of 30 devout Scientologists 'worked all night' scrubbing the carpark of its Sydney headquarters with all-purpose cleaner to prepare for a visit from James Packer.

That's according to a new book by author Steve Cannane - Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia - which details stunning claims of an alleged plot to recruit the billionaire and his friend Lachlan Murdoch.

In the early 2000s, Mr Packer would receive 'auditing' from top Scientology personnel and penthouse treatment with Tom Cruise at its LA celebrity base.

'The big project we were working on was Jamie (Packer),' said Marty Rathbun, the Church's former second in command, who described himself in the book as Mr Packer's auditor (or counsellor) in the United States.

Mr Rathbun said: 'Jamie would come by from time to time when he was in the States and we would after session go up to the President's suite.

'It's the penthouse suite at the Celebrity Centre (in Los Angeles) - Tom had it reserved for that entire several month period.'

Mr Cannane told Daily Mail Australia recruiting Mr Packer - and getting in the ear of his friend Lachlan Murdoch - was the religion's highest priority at the time.

'He was the top priority... on every level they were dedicating massive resources into getting him (Mr Packer) in and keeping him happy.'

The casino king's dalliance with the mysterious group in the early 2000s came during a low point of his life.

One.Tel, the telecommunications company he had invested so much time and money in, had collapsed.

His marriage to model Jodhi Meares had broken down and friends were very worried. 

Mr Packer has spoken publicly about how movie star and Scientology bigwig Tom Cruise reached out to him during this 'difficult' period of his life - describing the Mission Impossible star's approach as a 'surreal thing'. 

'I felt like a failure and it was not a great time in my life,' Mr Packer told Seven's Sunday Night program in 2013.

'I think that he (Cruise) could tell that I was in pain and... (he) invited me to his house to go skiing with him.'

Cruise is often described as one of the Church's highest ranking members.

Former Church recruit Eric Kleitsch alleged he was on the cleaning team for Mr Packer's arrival at the organisation's former building behind Broadway shopping centre in Glebe.

'There were around 30 of us,' the book quotes Mr Kleitsch saying. 'We worked all night and until lunchtime the next day.'

'I don't think he (Mr Packer) would've had any inkling of what was going on behind the scenes,' Mr Cannane said.

The book also contains claims from a former staffer, Lucy James, who claimed three 'handpicked' Scientologists were recruited to work for Mr Packer ‘essentially… as spies, reporting on Packer’s movements and actions’.

‘One report covered the fact that James was sleeping in until 11am every morning, which for some reason was considered a really big deal by Scientology executives,' she said.

Mr Packer has long since severed ties with the religion, with the book pegging his departure at about 2006.

It is not suggested that Mr Packer had any knowledge of the plot to recruit Lachlan Murdoch, or that he ever attempted to recruit Mr Murdoch, to Scientology. 

Top officials in the Scientology hierarchy were said to have been interested in recruiting Lachlan Murdoch and in 'getting our claws' into News Corp, one of the world's biggest publishing companies.

In 2012, Mr Murdoch told The Daily Beast news website he had never considered joining the religion 'in any way or at any time'.

A spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology said the book 'is like a hate crime generating prejudice, malice and potential aggression against members of a religion that has a more than 55 year history in Australia'.

'The falsehoods are too many to comment on,' the spokeswoman said, describing them as a 'disservice' to the 'hard work and dedication' of the Church's followers. 'The claims regarding these individuals are ludicrous and have no basis in fact'.

The Church denied Mr Kleitsch's claims to Mr Cannane and rejected claims it attempted to 'use James Packer to recruit Lachlan Murdoch, together with other allegations concerning Mr Packer'. 

Representatives for Mr Packer didn't respond to comment.

Despite 2011 Census figures pegging the religion as having only 2163 members (a figure disputed by the Church), the organisation recently opened a new $57 million Australasian headquarters in Chatswood.

The sprawling facility, built on the bones of the former National Acoustics Laboratory, was opened by the Church's 'ecclesiastical leader' David Miscavige last month.

The opening ceremony included a performance by known celebrity follower Kate Ceberano and its 'ecclesiastical leader' David Miscavige,

Mr Miscavige delivered a thundering speech where he described the complex as a 'physical wonder that gives meaning to the spirit of Scientology itself' and 'perfectly perfect'.

The opening was also attended by Le Lam - a former Auburn Council ally of colourful former deputy mayor Salim Mehajer - and Dr David Bennett, the former Commonwealth Solicitor General (or second highest ranking lawyer).

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